Looks like I’ll have one less butterfly this year

I have a Butterfly Weed – Asclepias curassavica in a pot hoping to attract more butterflies. It is a host plant for Monarchs and other butterflies seem to like it too. It seems to have worked because I soon found several Monarch caterpillars on the plant. Here is one of my first shots of one of them.
I noticed that a small fly had landed on it and went on to take other shots. When I came back I noticed that the fly was still there in the same position near the rear of the caterpillar. That seemed odd so I got a stronger lens and got a bit closer. It didn’t matter how close I got, the fly wasn’t about to leave.
DSC_6887acr107 DSC_6874acr107
It turns out that these flies lay their eggs inside the host caterpillar where they hatch and live as maggots until they are ready to pupate. Sometimes nature is disgusting. At any rate, the caterpillar itself will not pupate now and will therefore never become a butterfly. But that doesn’t happen to all of them. Here are a couple of shots, one of an adult Monarch – Danaus plexippus and the flowers of the Butterfly Weed.
Monarch - Danaus plexippus_1233cr107 DSC_8093cr107


About birds n' bugs

Retired, living in SW Florida and spending my time at nature photography in my local area. I volunteer with a couple of local organizations to help my adopted home town. Travelling is now by airplane and car instead of a sailboat but happy anyway.
This entry was posted in animal behavior, Bug, Wildflower and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Looks like I’ll have one less butterfly this year

  1. chatou11 says:

    Such a pity that fly was laying her eggs inside this beautiful caterpillar, he will never be an imago;
    Quite a lot of insects to that and it’s not fair!
    But thank you for your shots and the plant is great. I went to ask Google and I learned it was toxic and the caterpillar is also irritating, but good for Monarchs.

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